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all you need is a microphone and a camera

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The atmosphere is marked by spotlights shining down, the crowd cheering, and instruments strategically placed across the stage as if they were waiting for someone.

 

The time reads 8:00 pm which meant singer-songwriter and now touring artist, Betty Cooper would now be taking the stage for her first concert on the road. Nerves are elevated more than ever, anxiety peaking through the roof while she prays that all would go to plan as she and her band members walk onto the stage.

 

Betty felt the moments pass by in a blur, hearing things like ‘breaking a leg’ or ‘have a good show’ all behind her while her attention was directed on what was laying outside, people who paid hundreds of dollars to see her, her out of all people.

 

Her music career had launched when she released her debut single, Pressure which was a song that she had been working on for years, auditioning for record labels left and right with the song until finally, someone picked her up. It wasn't long until she was transformed into a global superstar, an overnight sensation as some would call her.

 

Interviews, photo shoots, and promotional meetings with fans and investors came through the record label which would influence a debut album that would only take her a few months to produce, working day and night for a product that she felt wasn't representing the best of what she could do and the craft that she loved. But, all of that didn't matter since it would later be thrown out the window because now she would be embarking on her three months long North American tour, hitting major cities all across the country.

 

It is crazy to think that her life changed in a blink of an eye, in less than a year she would become Billboard’s top new artist on the rise with over a million copies of her debut album sold. After all, all Betty could think about was the now and the present, knowing that her entire life depended on how well she did tonight.

 

Her first glimpse of the other side of the curtain was a pair of piercing blue eyes looking directly at her. She couldn't see the rest of these eyes or anyone else's due to the lights shining only on the stage and not on the crowd, making a mental note of that to tell her tour manager later on.

 

Just with that glimpse, she felt all of her nerves fall while a shiver ran down her spine as she looked back, meeting them with her illuminating green eyes giving a sense of replication. She felt a hand on her lower back, whipping her head to see the stage manager, Chuck who was guiding her to the center of the stage immediately hearing cheers from the crowd which meant the show was just about to begin.

 

She opened the show with her second single, one that also became an instant sensation on the charts, Love Deep.

 

No matter how hard she tried to look out and focus on the audience, all she could feel was the same eyes on her, feeling as though they were the only thing watching her in the entire room.

 

click, click

 

That was the sound of the flashing camera coming from the blue eyes, later figuring out that they belonged to a person, a guy who had a crown shaped beanie laying on the top of his soft, but hard looking black curls to match with his denim sherpa jacket and jeans.

 

She couldn't take her mind, no her eyes off of the man as a small smile crept on her face once and a while through the first half of the show, only leaving their staring contest when intermission was called and she would have to re-enter the craziness that is known as backstage at a concert.

 

All she heard was cheers and congratulations for ‘nailing’ the first half of the show, getting direction from her tour manager and high school best friend, Veronica Lodge, to begin the second act with the cover of Counting Stars which was noticeably one of her favorite songs back in high school in her small town.

 

She only had one complete access to music which was listening to the radio where she got her inspiration of writing songs about love, hope, and acceptance but her mother always tried to shut down any intentions of her having a professional career in music, instead she would rather have Betty work for her at the Riverdale Register.

 

While she was backstage, all she could think about was the person she had locked eyes within the audience even with all the commotion happening backstage along with the fact that she was going to go back on stage and do it all over again in just a short couple of minutes.

 

“Earth to Betty, hello..” Veronica says as she waves her right hand in her face, trying to get her attention, “Remember to close the show with Pressure, okay. We can’t have any mistakes tonight especially since this is the first show and all the tabloids are here, I am sure of it.” She said, rolling her eyes at the fact.

 

Betty comes back down from her cloud of thought, nodding her head in response, “Don’t worry, V. I have it all mapped out in my head.” The blonde said with a warming smile, “Can you believe it, any of it?”

 

“No, I honestly can’t and this is all for you, B. All of it.” The brunette said, initiating a hug between the two before guiding Betty back to the wings of the stage. She wished the blonde a good rest of the show before going back to where the band was, seeing them drinking a pack of beer that was placed on one of the carts, “Top of this act is Counting Stars, all right?” She said before directing her eyes to the bass player who just happened to be Reggie Mantle.

 

“And please, do not go out on that stage drunk, Reginald?” She asked, teasingly as she shot a serious look at him before departing to go to ‘The Pit’, the place where the personnel goes to watch the show through a live feed.

 

Back to where Betty was, she looked out at the audience expecting to see the blue eyes that she had seen before, but this time he was nowhere to be seen which left an empty space in her.

 

Why are do you care, Betty? He was probably just a random stranger, anyway , Betty thought to herself, Pull it together.

 

The blonde got back out on the stage, guiding the band members as she shot a nod at Reggie, causing him to begin the beginning chords of the opening song. She released a shaky breath before beginning, noticing the crowd was silent, watching her every move.

 

Lately I been, I been losing sleep

Dreaming about the things that we could be

 

She sang out, hearing cheers as the crowd recognized the song which brought a smile to her face. Her smile only got wider when she spotted the familiar blue eyes piercing into hers, feeling as she was only singing to him and not the crowd full of people.

 

But baby I been, I been prayin' hard

Said no more counting dollars

We'll be counting stars

Yeah, we'll be counting stars

 

The beat of the song finally kicked it, causing Betty to dance as she held onto the microphone stand, feeling free for the first time that night.

 

I see this life

Like a swinging vine

Swing my heart across the line

 

She moves across the stage in a swift motion, bringing her microphone with her. At the corner of her eye, she sees the same flash that she saw earlier from the same man, noticing that he was photographing her.

 

In my faces flashing signs

Seek it out and ye shall find

The old, but I'm not that old

Young, but I'm not that bold

And I don't think the world is sold

 

She plays this glance dance with blue eyes, his now permanent nickname. Now with every time she looks over at him, a flash emerges from his camera.

 

As soon as she finishes singing Pressure at the end of the show, she receives a round of applause from the audience which makes her smile from ear to ear, sensing a feeling of pride and accomplishment from completing the first show from her sold-out tour.

 

“Thank you, New York City! You always know how to make me feel at home, I hope to return soon. Have a good night!” Betty exclaimed out into the microphone, bowing hand in hand with Reggie along with the rest of the band, waving themselves off afterward.

 

Right off stage waiting was Veronica and the entire team applauding her and the band members for their first successful performance, hearing cheers and whistling from a lot of them. Betty instantly went to go hug her best friend, whispering “Thank you, V.” in her ear with a warming smile.

 

“Oh B, this is just the beginning.” The brunette says with a smile, taking the blonde back to her dressing room, “So, after you get changed, the entire crew and us two are going to go out for a little celebration to Output, what do you say?”

 

Betty turned to meet Veronica’s face, leaning against the wall that was behind her with her hands crossed at her chest, “I don't know, Veronica. I just feel like I should rest my voice for tomorrow, and especially for the rest of the tour.”

 

Veronica groaned at her response, “B, you have to go out there and live your life. You can’t be stuck in this bubble that you're currently always in. You gotta spread your wings like Kelly Clarkson once said.”

 

“How dare you quote Kelly Clarkson to my face? I mean, you know how much I love her.” Betty giggles, picking herself back up from the wall and continues making her way to her dressing room. “Just let me think about it okay, V?”

 

“Of course, we’ll be waiting down near the busses if you want to come, but please do,” Veronica said, surrendering to what Betty was saying and with that, she left to go back to The Pit to get her things.

 

Betty shut the door behind her and leaned up against it, playing with the cross necklace that was placed around her neck, having it there for as long as she could remember. Despite all of her efforts, she was not able to get her mind off of-of the mystery person behind those blue eyes, those piercing blue eyes.

 

“Shit, Betty”, she said to herself after she shook her head, taking in a deep breath before walking over to look at herself in the mirror to later smile at herself just thinking about how intimate that moment on stage felt even though there were thousands of people in their way.

 

You're never going to see him again, Betty so stop obsessing , she could hear her conscious say to her and with that, she began changing out of her performance outfit, a simple black long sleeve top, and jeans to a casual pastel pink sweater and blue jeans outfit.

 

When she looked out into the mirror in front of her, it took her back to when she was in high school, seeing high school Betty and not the Betty that was just up there singing her heart out on stage in front of thousands of people. In some ways, it comforted her knowing that there were two sides of her, the very public Betty and then the very personal, guarded Betty.

 

It also allowed peace of mind since she knew that there was no way she would be recognized out in public due to her image being very dark, mysterious, and grunge which was the complete opposite of whom she was looking at in the mirror.

 

Her onstage persona was her alter ego, the only way she could live her life the way she wanted to.

 

There was only one last thing to do and that was to put on her signature ponytail. Her ponytail used to be a representation of all of her insecurities as she would always have it on and displayed in the halls of Riverdale High. Of course she would be made fun of every once and while, but she tried for that to not get to her to a personal level, remembering the words that Veronica once told her, Don’t let them get to you, you're the only one who is allowed to do that and then when you do, just shake it off.

 

Those words always stuck around with her, especially now more than ever since she's in the spotlight every second of every day.

 

Betty opened her door back up, meeting up with some backstage aids that weren't surprised by her sudden change in appearance and instead congratulated her on a great show and then all parties bid their farewells.

 

She made her way towards the back of the theatre and out the doors, trying to avoid people recognizing her even though yes, she loved her fans but sometimes she needed time to herself.

 

When she spotted Veronica talking with Reggie, who was another person she went to high school but she didn't consider him a close friend, she mostly considered him a friend of Veronica.

 

Betty took the opportunity to walk over to the brunette, interrupting their conversation, “I’m in.”

 

Veronica looked over at Reggie and then at Betty, smiling at her before looking at her up and down, “Not in that outfit you’re not.”

 

——

 

There were jackets, jeans, and t-shirts being thrown down on the floor from a place in his closet, trying to find the perfect outfit for a night out in the Big Apple. Not that Jughead Jones cared about his appearance, it was more for that fact that he didn't want to scare a potential ‘muses’ along the way, always trying to think ahead.

 

Hideous , Jughead thought to himself at a worn down Metallica shirt that he saw, throwing it down before picking out one of his old ’S’ t-shirts that he used to wear back in high school, smiling at the subtle memory.

 

He decided to throw it on, for old times sake to match with his denim jeans. Now all he had to do was find a jacket to match with it which was one of his sherpa jackets.

 

When Jughead saw himself in the mirror to see his final product, he looked at his 17-year-old self being reminded of all the pain and misery that he went through back in those days that are now unspeakable.

 

But something else was missing, his beanie.

 

He had shoved it in his nightstand when he was unpacking into his new apartment, knowing that he would never go back to using it but tonight was a special occasion including the fact that he just got a new job.

 

After all the reminiscing was done, he grabbed bag to later wrap it around his body like it was a sash, stashing his camera inside of it carefully since it was his material of work.

 

“Jug, let’s go, we’re going to be late!” He heard from down the hall, making him hurry up his process even quicker as he checked around his room to see if he left anything before going back out to the living room.

 

“All right, all right, I’m ready.” He said to his fellow roommate, one of three. His second roommate, Kevin was one of the backstage managers of Betty Cooper’s tour who essentially scored them tickets and then his job as an official tour photographer.

 

“What the hell are you wearing, Arch?” He said, looking up and down at his friend’s choice of outfit, a band t-shirt with ripped dark jeans. Not your style , he said to himself.

 

“What? We’re going to a concert and this is the best I got, so let’s go. I already loaded your stuff in the car so all we have to do is load it on the bus or wherever you're going.” The redhead said, motioning to open the door for the two twenty-year-olds to head going to the concert which was going to start in just an hour.

 

The drive to the Roxy Lounge was surprisingly not long despite what he and Archie thought, arriving in just under 40 minutes to begin admission.

 

As soon as Jughead got out of the car, he saw a line of people down the building to later wrap around him, thinking at least a few hundred people would be at this show tonight. I mean, It is the first show of the tour , he told himself trying to convince himself that he was somewhat normal for celebrities.

 

“Damn, Jug why don’t you start getting in line as I go find a place to park, all right?” Archie suggests, whistling sadly as soon as he caught sight of the line.

 

“I thought Kev gave us VIP tickets?” Jughead said, peaking his head through the window of the passenger’s seat of the car, scanning the tickets for any indication. “Just go find a place to park, I’ll see what I can do. I mean, I am the official tour photographer,” He said with a smirk and a chuckle, stepping away from the car to see Archie laugh from the comment, driving towards public parking they had spotted close on the way.

 

Jughead adjusted his beanie and went to the ticket booth, looking around to see if any personnel was available and called over a woman, calling her Midge due to what it said on her name tag.

 

“Midge, hello um, I am Jughead Jones and I am the official tour photographer of the show.” He said, taking out the badge of identification that Kevin gave him earlier in the day and gave it to her. “I have two tickets for my friend and me, I was wondering if we have any VIP privileges or do we both have to wait in line to enter?”

 

Midge, the ticket booth seller looked at him with a smile as she took a look at his badge, “I just need to see your I.D. along with your and your friend’s tickets.” And with that, Jughead took out his wallet to hand her his I.D. and reached in his back pocket for the print outs of the tickets that they had purchased the night before, “Here you go.”

 

Midge nodded, taking it in her hand to cross-examine it before handing Jughead back his identification card while giving him two new tickets, this time VIP concert tickets. “Just take these up to security so they can scan it and then you and your friend are all set. Have a nice time and good luck with your photos.” She added with a warming smile, taking in the next customer that was behind Jughead.

 

He thanked her as he put his card back in his wallet, waiting by the door for Archie to come back, scanning them to pass up time. The tickets reading Pressure Tour: Roxy Lounge, New York City, NY.

 

Once Archie finally caught up to him, Jughead handed him his ticket as he led the both of them inside to the new line of fans waiting to be approved by security.

 

“So, are you excited for the show?” Archie asked, looking down at his ticket before stepping forward as the line moved up.

 

“Yeah, I mean I don’t know many of the songs but I do have 3 months to learn about what type of artist she is,” Jughead said with a light chuckle, already feeling like he would dread the next 3 months but he desperately needed the job and Kevin was so kind to offer him it.

 

Jughead and Archie were the next in line for security and Jughead take the opportunity to take out his camera to capture the craziness that was happening all around them, taking some shots of the commotion.

 

He found his muses, or inspirations all around him, not having one distinct voice for what his photography would represent. He started capturing photos when for his birthday, his father and mother put their money together to buy him his first camera. It wasn't a camera that was the latest release or anything like that, but it was a gift that showed him how much his parents cared about me. That was the last time he saw his mom and dad in the same room, happy and content over something that they did.

 

He was just 9 years old at that point.

 

A month later, he found out that his dad and mom were getting a divorce and that shook his entire world around with his younger sister, Jellybean being taken by his mother to go live off to a foreign place with him being stuck with his father, the newly appointed leader of the Toledo Serpents.

 

He cried himself to sleep that night and the rest of the nights to follow.

 

He met Archie while he was a freshman in college in New York while he was trying to find a place to live since his roommate had kicked him out. He saw the redhead’s ad online which provoked him to sign up immediately, moving in the next day after he met him and Kevin. That was almost 4 years ago and 3 of them have been best friends ever since.

 

Both men finally got past security, being directed to a different entrance from the general public, later realizing that it was the VIP section which brought a smirk up to Jughead’s face when he turned around to look at Archie.

 

“Remind me to thank Kevin when we see him later,” He added, chuckling when the inside of the club was revealed to them when they stepped inside, trying to find spots closest to the stage.

Archie added another chuckle at his statement before adding, “Do you need any help setting up or anything?”

 

“No, it’s just my camera and me for right now but thanks, man.” He replied, adjusting the lens on his camera and decided to take some editorial shots of the space, some with red hair peeking through.

 

“Jug, imagine how many hot chicks must be here tonight. You think I can score one?” Archie said, patting Jughead on the side trying to get his attention.

 

“You couldn't leave your pretentious douchebag persona at home, could you?” Jughead said, shaking his head thinking to himself, I owe Kevin 20 bucks, thanks Arch.

 

Space started to hold more and more people as time gradually went by which allowed chance for more shots before the lights started dimming down, bringing Jughead’s attention to the stage. Where they were both standing, there was clear, visible access into the wings allowing to see the commotion that was happening backstage.

 

The time now read 8:00pm which meant the show was about to start, gaining cheers from the crowd to try to get the singer on stage and to get the show on the road.

 

Jughead picked up his head to face the curtain, meeting his gaze with a view of the most beautiful pair of green eyes he had ever laid his eyes on. That brought a smile to creep on his face, following her movements onto the stage with his eyes.

 

He instantly noticed the first song on the set which was Love Deep, to be fair he did do some research to make sure what he was going into when his friend gave him the job.

 

He felt a nudge on his shoulder, it turns out to be Archie, “Kevin never told us that she could sing, like really sing, huh? What do you think, mister photographer?” He shouted, laughing a little as he focused his attention on the stage, cheering her on.

 

Jughead was left speechless by how raspy, but full her voice turned out to be as she was singing live. Singing along with the words, he brought his camera up to his face to take the first shot of the night. Mesmerizing , he thought when he looked down at the preview shot.

 

And with that, he found his real muse.

 

It felt like they were both playing a game with one another, a staring contest as little kids would put it while he took pictures of her in her natural element, a smile plastered on his face throughout the entire first half of the show.

 

When she walked off stage when intermission was called, he missed her eyes, but most importantly she missed her. He didn't even know her or practically anything about her, but he did know the look that she kept giving him and for him, that was enough.

 

Intermission dragged on, the longest fifteen minutes of his life really while he took that time to make sure all of his previous shots were in order, showing some of them to Archie before he went off to talk to some girl who's name was Valerie.

Jughead decided to move to the back of the VIP section, noticing that he could get some more overall shots of the stage during the break but before he knew it, the second half was commencing.

 

He watched from afar as he photographed her coming on the stage, smiling to himself when he heard the opening chords of Counting stars, it is one of his favorite songs. Of course, he would never admit it to be one that he would add to his collection.

 

Lately I been, I been losing sleep

Dreaming about the things that we could be

 

He smiled at her when he saw her meet his eyes, raising his camera slowly to capture the moment, recommencing their dance with one another.

 

But baby I been, I been prayin' hard

Said no more counting dollars

We'll be counting stars

Yeah, we'll be counting stars

 

He couldn't be more grateful that Archie was nowhere to be seen, as usual, so he couldn't see how wide his smile had gone for someone he didn't even know.

 

I see this life

Like a swinging vine

Swing my heart across the line

 

When he saw her dance around to the beat of the music, he took his first shot at her.

 

In my faces flashing signs

Seek it out and ye shall find

The old, but I'm not that old

Young, but I'm not that bold

And I don't think the world is sold

 

With every flash coming from his camera, he noticed that his eyes never left hers making him capture all of the intimate moments that felt public between them two, strangers to one another.

 

Their moment never slipped away until the very end of the show which she closed out with Pressure, a song that was very new to him even though Kevin told him was her most notable song. He decided to enjoy it even though he would hear the same song for the next three months, something he was looking forward to.

 

After the show, he felt the moment fade when he caught up with Archie who had lipstick smudged all over his face, red to be exact, “Had fun there, Arch?”

 

“You have no idea, but I got a text from Kev saying we should meet him in the back of the theatre by the busses,” Archie replied, chuckling while they walked out of the theatre to go get the car to go to the parking at the back of the theatre, picking up conversation about anything but what happened between Jughead and Betty Cooper.

 

Time passed by and the two roommates arrived at where Kevin was waiting for them with Jughead’s luggage in hand.

 

“So, how did you both think of the show?” Kevin said as he emerged from behind a bus with a twenty-something-year-old looking guy by his side with a leather jacket on, looking familiar to Jughead for some reason.

 

“It was incredible, wasn’t it Jug?” Archie said with a snide smirk, laughing as he set the luggage on the floor to go embrace Kevin into a hug, “And who’s your friend, Kev?”

 

“Sure was,” Jughead said, doing the same as Archie to later stand at the same spot that he was before but this time with a luggage set down.

 

“Oh, this is Joaquin he’s an aid here and will be on the same bus as us, Jug,” Kevin said with an unusually wide smile when he looked over at Joaquin who just said hello before leaving the group.

 

“Well, he’s a talker, isn’t he?” Jughead said, teasing Kevin who later shot him a look before adding, “Where do I put this, by the way?”

 

“Let me help you put your actual luggage under the bus while your backpack with your camera and overnight stuff comes with you on the tour bus,” Kevin said, leading both Archie and Jughead to Bus number 3 which is where he would be calling home for the next 3 months. They later got everything situated and meet the crew that would be staying on the bus, most of them being aids like Joaquin.

 

“So all of the crew will be going to this club downtown called Output, do you guys want to come with?” Kevin asked with a puppy dog eyes matched with a puppy dog face, “Come on, please say yes.”

 

“I don’t know, man” “I’m in,” Jughead and Archie said at the same time.

 

“Oh, come on Jug, it’ll be fun,” Kevin said as Archie nudged his shoulder repeatedly, pressuring him to go.

 

“Fine, fine, I’m in,” Jughead said, folding to their cause.

 

Chapter Text

Output is a fairly popular nightclub located in Brooklyn that’s known for its electric music and a full crowd that only acquired Veronica’s taste even more after searching high and low for a perfect place where the crew could go to celebrate the first night of the tour.

The sweaty and chaotic ambiance of the club only provoked Betty to let go of any nerves or worries that might’ve been presented to her or will be in the future. It was time for her to just follow Veronica’s lead, even if it wasn't the best option in any circumstance.

She got glances from everyone in the room, feared that they were judging her based on her appearance which was altered by the same brunette to a black fishnet short sleeve shirt to cover her chest as her black bra was visible and to a pair of short black jeans, feeling as though she was impersonating someone else.

But, she later realized that all of the stares were for her, for the person that she was known to be, Betty Cooper the overnight sensation and not Betty Cooper who was worried about her see-through outfit.

Veronica led the entire crew to the VIP section of the club, a secluded area where it was just them to relax and truly celebrate about their accomplishment that night, partying like it seemed it was their last.

Betty made sure to stay close to Veronica, not wanting to confront any drunk guys who were attempting to pick her up or crazy fans, she just wanted this night to be all about her letting loose and forgetting about everything.

The one thing that she couldn't forget about was those blue eyes, that man who she caught glimpse of in the audience. She wished that she could've gotten a name, or even gotten an entire full look at him to get this aching out of her head on trying to figure out who he is, but it didn't matter because she knew she would never be able to see him again.

Maybe that gave her some peace in mind.

——

On the other side of town, Jughead, Kevin, Joaquin, and Archie were on their way across the Brooklyn Bridge to meet up with the rest of the crew. The car ride wasn't the easiest since Joaquin’s presence wasn't the most comfortable to be around since he had this murder-y type essence about him that Jughead just couldn't shake off.

The club wasn't familiar to him, yes he had heard about it but it wasn't a hang out spot that he would go to otherwise if it weren't for Kevin. On the other hand, Archie was already a regular at every club in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Jughead was only willing to go to just meet the other crew members that he would be spending time with on the tour, besides the ones he had already met before leaving the venue. The only thing that was urging in his mind was seeing Betty again, but he knew that there was no way she would be in a public place at this time at night, might be bad for her image he thought.
There was also no way that she would even remember him since she must meet hundreds of people every day.

When they arrived, he let out a shaky breath before putting his hands into his jacket pockets, “Let’s enter the belly of the beast,” He said, nudging his head at Archie to lead the way.

The atmosphere of the club was the opposite of what Jughead was ever used to, being immune to any type of change revolving him and his surroundings. He noticed dancing bodies everywhere with drinks in their hands while electronic music only encouraged them.

“Follow me, alright?” Kevin shouted back at them when he went in front of Archie with Joaquin in hand which caused a confused look on Jughead’s face, easily shaking it off when he realized where they were, in the back of the club entering into the VIP section.

That was the first indication to him that he was going to meet someone face to face tonight

“There are some people that I want you to meet, Jug,” Kevin shouted, signaling Jughead towards him at the entrance of the section. Two women appeared before him, one with chocolate skin with pink hair while another with white skin with fiery red hair, hand in hand.

“This is Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz.” Kevin introduced the two women, pointing to the fiery redhead, Cheryl first and then to the woman next to her, Toni.

“Nice to meet you two, I’m Jughead Jones.” He said, extending his hand for a greeting which only Toni accepted, “Toni,” She said with a nod before adding, “you must be the photographer, right?”

Jughead nods, “Yeah, how about you, what’s your role?”

“Oh, I’m just accompanying my girlfriend but I’m interested in photography, do you mind if I stick around for some of your shoots?” Toni said, coming across as a little bold, but at least she was better than Cheryl who was giving him some side eye.

“Uh, yeah sure. I always need a fresh pair of eyes, thanks.” He responded
before looking over at Cheryl, “So, what do you do?”

Cheryl looks over at him with a sarcastic smile, “I’m one of the tour managers, beanie.”

Toni looks over at her girlfriend with an arched eyebrow, seeming as though they were communicating through a secret language that they both know, “Excuse us.” She said, taking her girlfriend’s hand and whisks her away.

“What’s up with her?” Jughead asks confused, looking over at Kevin who just shrugs.

——

Betty had gotten into the rhythm of the type of music that the DJ was playing in the club with it mostly being electronic music, so she just decided to dance alongside Veronica and Reggie until they were all up against each other.

There were some songs that she would sing along to, especially when she was pulled by Veronica to sing along to Youngblood, one of their personal favorites.

 

Remember the words you told me, love me 'til the day I die
Surrender my everything 'cause you made me believe you're mine
Yeah, you used to call me baby, now you calling me by name 

Takes one to know one, yeah

You beat me at my own damn game

 

Betty wraps her hands around Veronica's neck, swaying along with her as the first verse kicks in.

 

You push and you push and I'm pulling away 

Pulling away from you

I give and I give and I give and you take, give and you take

 

This felt like a choreographed dance with the raven-haired girl pulling away from the blonde, synchronizing with the lyrics.

 

Youngblood

Say you want me

Say you want me

Out of your life

And I'm just a dead man walking tonight

 

And with that, both girls begin jumping up in down in giggles, singing along with the words, feeling as though they were both back in Betty's bedroom listening to One Direction in high school.

After the song was over, she was brought back to reality once again by Veronica’s voice, “Kev’s here, there’s someone that I want you to meet, B.” The raven-haired woman said, taking the blonde’s hand as she leads her through the section, meeting with Kevin and a familiar face that only caused her to stop in her tracks.

It can’t be, Betty said to herself, feeling a smile creep on her face

Veronica smiles towards him before bringing her attention back to Betty, “Betty, this is Jughead Jones, our new tour photographer, and Jughead, this is Betty Cooper, who surely does not need any type of introduction.”

Betty was stunned, to say the least, all of the nerves that she looked to be relieved when she stepped inside the club all came back, “Um, hi. It’s nice to meet you.” She said, extending her hand to meet with his.

Jughead met her hand, feeling the same nervousness but he couldn't produce the words to greet her back, feeling speechless which just caused him to nod.

Veronica and Kevin noticed the tension between the two, just casually looking at one another before Kevin spoke up, “Well, I have to leave you three to it since I have to go meet up with Joaquin.”

He said, detaching himself from the group which only was followed by Veronica doing the same, being eyed from a redhead across the room.

It was just Betty and Jughead sitting in this uncomfortable silence with commotion happening all around them, feeling like there was a bubble shielding them from the rest of the room. The sensation mirrored to what they were participants of at her concert, only feeling freer.

“Do you just want to-" They both said at the same time, causing him to chuckle.

“Can you just forget about what happened earlier, maybe even start over?” Betty said quietly, looking down at her feet.

“What, you and I eye-fucking at your concert?” Jughead sardonically says, smirking a little. He usually wouldn't have much confidence directly speaking to anyone, let alone someone like Betty but it didn’t feel that way with her.

It felt different.

“I wouldn't call it that, but yes that,” Betty said, bringing up her face as she nudges his shoulder with a giggle.

“Well that means I have to re-introduce myself,” She says, expending her hand once again, “Hi, I’m Betty Cooper. It is nice to meet you.”

He lets out a faint chuckle, meeting her hand as he shook it with a small smile, “Jughead Jones, pleasures all mine.”

“I feel like I owe you one, so care for a drink?” She offers after a while, pointing towards the bar where she knows sees Veronica talking to a redhead, laughing along with him.

“That sounds good, thanks.Actually, you're not as bitchy as I thought you would be.” He says teasingly, leading her down quickly towards the bar where he met with Archie and the raven-haired woman talking and now laughing.

Betty just smiled, laughing a little to herself as she followed after him.

Figures, both Jughead and Betty thought to themselves as they saw their friend’s actions when they finally made it down.

Maybe, this was the beginning of something special, Betty thought as she smiles over at Jughead, mirroring his while they both sat down. 

Chapter Text

The last memory that Betty had with Jughead starring in it was their last conversation at Output, a moment that she wishes to never forget. 

 

Betty sat down in her seat, getting accommodated before opening up the conversation to Jughead but was cut off by the bartender, “So, what would you two like to drink?” He asked, passing them both coasters.

 

“I’ll have scotch, off the rocks,” Jughead looks over at her, “and she’ll have a martini,” adding with a nod.

 

Betty arched an eyebrow at him with a smirk, “How did you know I would’ve ordered a martini?” 

 

“You just look like the type,” He teasingly says with a smirk and chuckle, before changing the conversation as he shifts in his seat to face her, “So tell me about overnight sensation Betty Cooper, I’m sure there’s a lot that I should know about you considering I will be around you a whole lot.”

 

“There isn’t much to tell, I’m just a small-town girl living in a lonely world,” She responds, smiling softly.

 

“So, you base your life on a Journey song?” He says, shaking his head, “Oh, Betty Cooper..”

 

“I mean, what’s wrong with that?” She says with a giggle, receiving her martini from the bartender to later thank him, “It’s one of my favorite songs, especially while I was in high school because all I wanted to was get out of Riverdale.”

 

“So, in your narrative would I be a city boy, born and raised from South Detroit?” He teases, taking a sip from his cup of scotch. 

 

“Actually, yes...w-wait, are you actually from Detroit?” Betty asks in disbelief, licking some salt from her martini.

 

“No, I’m actually from Toledo, but that just makes me a city boy born and raised from Toledo, not much of a difference.” He says, setting his glass down as he licks the scotch off of his lips.

 

She watches that move intently, taking her eyes off from his eyes to his lips but quickly removes them, afraid that he caught her in the action. 

 

“What makes Toledo so special?” The blonde asks, also setting her to drink down on the bar table. 

 

“I didn’t say it was, now did I?” Jughead scoffs, “No but I did meet Archie over there,” he points over at him, turning his head towards his best friend who claims the lips of Veronica, the woman he met about less than twenty minutes ago. 

 

“Oh gosh,” Betty giggles, putting her head in her hands as she catches a glimpse of the pair now sucking face, a term that Toni would use whenever they’re reunited for a girls night, one of her personal favorites. “I leave her alone for two minutes and she’s now shoving her tongue down someone else’s throat, no offense, Jug.”

 

Jug, that’s the part that startles him the most.

 

“I know the feeling, believe me,” He adds before focusing his attention back on the blonde next to her, “and Jug, huh?” He smirks. 

 

Betty’s cheeks flush at the comment from embarrassment, “I’m sorry.”

 

“No, no don’t worry. I was just teasing, but I like it. My mom would call me Jug as well before she, um...” He says, dropping the sentence at the end.

 

Betty noticed how he got when he mentioned his mom, making a note to herself to not bring up his family, “I’m sorry, Jug.”, putting her hand on his, looking up at him. 

 

“No, it’s fine, seriously. The perks of living your life as me,” Jughead says, gazing his eyes over at her hand before going back up to meet her eyes, “So, tell me more about you now that you know I come from a crap family.” The raven asked, changing the conversation as he sipped the entire glass of scotch down, shaking his head from the burning sensation. 

 

“Well, there really isn't much to me. I’m from Riverdale, a small-town upstate which is where I met Veronica, funnily enough. We went to high school together and then we decided to just start recording music in my room which is where it all took off.”

 

“Oh, so you're like one of those youtube breakouts?” He asks intriguingly, his head resting on the palm of his propped up hand. 

 

“No, not at all. I released Pressure as an independent song, and it just took off which was over a couple of months ago, I think.” She says, taking the last sip of her martini.“But how about you, how did you end up being a photographer?”

 

Jughead replies, “Well, I’m just a freelancer right now which is why Kevin got me this job. I just fell in love with capturing life’s little moments when mine were taken away. A great juxtaposition when you look at it.” 

 

Betty felt bad for him, especially when he decided to shake off the topic the first time because it allowed her to see how uncomfortable and hurt he was from it. 

 

It seemed as though it came out of movie or it was just pure luck, but the next featured song played at the club was Journey’s Don’t Stop Believingand all Betty heard after that besides the opening chords of the song was an “Oh, god.” coming from right next to her which she matched with a giggle.

 

Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world

she took a midnight train going anywhere.

 

Betty matched the lyrics with her singing as she sang along, teasing Jughead as she took his hand, nudging towards the dance floor.

 

Just a city boy, born and raised in South Detroit

He took a midnight train going anywhere.

 

She handed off the ‘mic’ to him, letting him sing and at first, nothing came before he joined in on the last line which left them both with smiles on their faces.

 

She wrapped her arms around his neck and felt his hands on her waist, an open invitation to step closer to him as the instrumental section of the song kicked in.

 

A singer in a smoky room

A smell of wine and cheap perfume.

 

For a smile, they can share the night

It goes on and on and on and on

 

They both swayed along to the music, exchanging lyrics back and forth as their smiles only got wider, feeling as though they were the only ones in the room.

 

The song kept playing with the both of them becoming lead singers before it ended with them reenacting the music video, looking like complete dorks in the middle of the dance floor which only brought more eyes to them.

 

“Hey Jug, do you want to get out of here?” Betty exclaims over the music with a smile, nodding towards the door.

 

Just at the sight in front of her, his breath hitched a little before he cracked a small smile, “I would love nothing more, Betty Cooper.”

 

She smiles when she takes his hand and brings them back the bar, leaving a twenty-dollar bill that she got from Veronica’s purse that was dangling from her chair on the bar top.

 

Jughead’s small smile only kept getting wider towards her actions, taking her hand as he follows her but stops as he picks up her twenty-dollar bill and puts it back to where he saw it being taken from and places one of his own, paying for their drinks. He catches up to her as they walk side by side towards the exit of the club, hoping that no one would notice either of them leaving.

 

“Your majesty,” He says, chuckling as he opens the door for her, discontinuing the setting of the nightclub and allowing her to enter into the real world. 

 

She giggles, feeling her rosy cheeks becoming more exposed so she tucks her head down before looking up at the dark blue sky with her arms crossed softly, “It’s really beautiful out here.”

 

Jughead stays by the door, looking out to his view which was composed of Betty staring up. Absolutely beautiful, he thought to himself. 

 

He caught up to her once again, extending his hand towards her with an arched eyebrow, “Do you trust me?” He asks.

 

She looks down at his hand and then back up at him, No, I don’t because I just met you and you’re a stranger, she thought in her head.

 

But instead, she nods her head as she takes his hand in hers and says, “lead the way, Romeo.”

 

The night sky was a mix of dark blue and purple, signifying the beginning of dawn as Jughead leads Betty towards a field of green, something that he wished he could drown in but instead in her eyes.

 

After 20 minutes of guiding an annoying child who kept asking his parents “are we there yet?”, but a cute annoying child. He revealed a bench facing a river bank that leads to the Brooklyn Bridge. 

 

Betty was in awe at the sight before her, focusing her attention on every part that pulled her eyes, “Jug..” She says, looking at him in awe of the entire scenery.

 

“I would come up here all the time to escape from the nosiness that falls upon Manhattan. I consider this to be my primary muse, an escape to my reality I have called it.” Jughead says, picking up a small rock and throwing it into the water to let it skip before putting his hands in his pockets, sitting down on the bench. 

 

“This place is beautiful, seriously,” Betty says, wrapping her arms around her body, shivering a little as the gust of wind intensified as she sat down on the bench.

 

He looks over at her, “Here, take my jacket. You look like you're going to freeze to death.” He says with a light chuckle while he takes off his jacket and places it above her shoulders before the blonde takes it and puts it on fully before she meets his gaze with a soft expression, “Thank you, Jughead” 

 

They fall into a comfortable silence, causing Betty to look away from his eyes and out into the scene before her, leaning back into the support of the bench which caused Jughead to do the same. 

 

What they had felt natural, unusually natural since they only had met a few hours ago but it felt like they've been dancing around another for an entire lifetime. 

 

Betty’s head fell on his shoulder, making her smile up at him as she pressed against the left side of his body, hugging his jacket to coat his scent all over her. The scent of a mysterious man, she said to herself.

 

It felt like a picture perfect moment to Jughead, being in the place of his dreams along with a woman on his shoulder who he couldn't be more fascinated by. 

 

At the beginning of the day, he would've never thought this would be the result of the day especially having the chance to talk and get to know the woman he met eyes with at the concert. He felt like he needed to document it in some way, even if it was just his last. 

 

“Before I forget, the photographer in me can’t pass up on the opportunity to save this moment, now could it?” Jughead says with a teasing smile, lifting her head gently with his hand before he shifts in his seat to take out his phone. 

 

He takes the opportunity to settle on the view, taking a couple of shots that have a cameo feature of blonde hair flowing into the lens. 

 

When she looks over at him with a small smile to meet his eye, he knew that was the moment he wanted to capture so he did. He couldn't think of a perfect moment than that one, with a woman of that beauty and simplicity with a view that matched the same description. 

 

——

 

Days passed on by which only meant shows and tickets were being sold out with Betty being at the epicenter of it all. 

 

Their last performance was the night before in Washington, D.C. to yet another full crowd of screaming teenagers and young adults along with flashes coming from the far-right corner of the audience.

 

Betty couldn't stop thinking about that night that she and Jughead spent together in the club and out near the Brooklyn Bridge. If it wasn't for him, she would've never known that was there or anything was there which made her realize how much she's missing and how much she's wrapped up in what she was doing for others and yet not for herself. 

 

The night ended with them going back to the busses at sunset with them bidding their goodbyes, nothing special coming out of it besides her giving him his jacket back which only resulted in her taking it back with her to her bus. She may or may not have slept with it. 

 

It was crazy to her, and the entire night was crazy to her because they were two strangers from two opposite worlds but yet it felt so fitting that she didn't question it when they were both in the act. 

 

They hadn't been able to catch up since due to her being so busy with tour promotion which meant interviews and photo shoots in every city for local and national magazines. The only time that she was even in the same vicinity as he was when they were both repeating their nightly dance both on stage and in the audience. 

 

I never want this to end, she says to herself every night. 

 

The only other way she heard of him or what he was doing outside of her concerts was through Veronica out of all people. Turns out that whenever she's not on the bus with her, she was always with Archie, her newfound beau as she liked to call him. 

 

It seemed as though both of them were beginning to hit it off to not much of her dismay. She couldn't say anything on the topic, not having known Archie for that long or more at all so it wasn't her business either way. 

 

There were some nights where she wished she was on that bus with them, to indulge in another conversation with Jughead, to get to know him and not the photographer that was following her around on stage with his gaze and camera every night. She was intrigued by him, wanting to crack his puzzle and to let him start on hers. 

 

——

 

Pressure Tour: The Broadberry, Richmond, Virginia

 

Fifth stop on the tour.

 

Fifth sold-out crowd.

 

Fifth cause for celebration.

 

Fifth encounter with Jughead. 

 

Betty thought to herself while coming off the stage, receiving yet another round of applause from the crew and tour members backstage. 

 

She bid the band and the crew a thank you and then a good night to head off into her dressing room to change into a casual baby pink shirt and ripped blue jeans to go back on the bus. 

 

Her after show routine was quite simple: thank the band and crew, get changed, avoid the fans standing by the busses, get on the bus, maybe watch a movie only with popcorn, and then fall asleep before 3 am to get the correct amount of sleep. 

 

It felt like she was starting to become her mother, something that she deeply feared. 

 

She was halfway done with her routine, all she needed was to get on the bus but instead, she was stopped by a blue piercing gaze that she felt coming from behind her. She turned around to meet them, resulting in Jughead being the owners of those eyes.

 

“Jughead, you scared me,” The blonde says with a giggle with her arms crossed, “How are you, long time no see?”

 

“Sorry, you've just been crazy busy that I didn't want to get in the way of all of this and I’m good, how about you superstar?” The raven haired photographer replies back, waving his arms around to signify his meaning before smiling at her, resting his hands near his body. 

 

“I’m good, now that you're here.” She says quietly, before adding “and you’d never get in the way,” with a softness to voice when she meets his eyes once again, not being able to look away from them. 

 

Blue and Green lock eyes, beginning to making cyan which would result in being her new favorite color. 

 

Jughead stepped closer to her, only being separated by a few inches of the expanse between both of their bodies, settling in their comfortable silence. 

 

“Do you, um, want to come inside? I can pop in a movie if you want so you don't have to be suffocated by everyone on yours? I mean, only if you want.” Betty says out of nervousness, looking down to the ground as she rocks her heels back and forth.

 

“Y-Yeah, that sounds great, only if you have space on your bus. I’ll just get a couple of my stuff, so I don’t come empty-handed.” He says through a mild case of stutters.

 

Her head comes up swiftly as soon as he says yes, displaying a wide smile while she claps her hands together, “Okay great, I’ll just get everything ready so you have somewhere to sleep and all you have to is knock on the door.” And with that, she begins heading towards her bus before stopping in her tracks to turn around to look at him with a bitten lip, seeing him walk off with the same expression back to his bus. 

 

Only ten minutes passed by before she heard a knock come to the door of the bus, only successfully getting space cleaner than how it was before but to her mother's standards, it would look like a frat house. 

 

She smoothed over her pink shirt before going over to the door to open it, a soft smile appearing on her face when she saw him standing there with a backpack around his back, “Someone ordered a busboy?” Jughead says jokingly as Betty steps aside to let him in, going inside to look around.

 

“So, it’s just us tonight?” He asks, gulping a little at the thought. 

 

“Yeah, are you-are you fine with that, Jug?” She responds with a nod, walking up to him, “You can just put your stuff in the bottom bunk over there,” She adds while pointing towards the destination. 

 

“I am fine with that, yeah and thanks, for all of this,” He says with a generous smile, turning around to put his stuff down and notices his jacket laying on her bed, smiling to himself as he noticed it. He came back to where she was standing, tugging that memory in the back of his mind. 

 

“Netflix is installed on the TV, and I have a bag of popcorn that is just calling our names, so why don't you pick a movie while I go and get the popcorn ready?” She proposes to him who only brought a nod as a response from him.

 

He picks up the remote and turns the television on, browsing towards the countless options before picking out a horror-thriller that was on the recommended tab called Under The Shadow.

 

Once she came back with the bucket full of popcorn, a smile was plastered on her face as she came down on the couch to sit next to him. “Oh my gosh, I’ve been dying to see this film,” 

 

“Yeah? Well, great minds think a like then, Betts.” Jughead says, taking a handful of popcorn in his hand as he presses play on the remote, focusing his attention on the screen. 

 

Betts, she hangs onto the word which creates a smile on her face. 

 

She shakes it out, smiling into a bite of popcorn as she focuses on the screen in front of them, still not being able to take her mind off of him even though he just happens to be right next to her. 

 

She unknowingly rests her head against his shoulder, biting her lip when she looks up at him with her soft green eyes only resulting in meeting his piercing blue eyes. 

 

“Hi.” He says with his strong and husky voice.

 

“Hi.” She says back with her soft and toned voice.